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Bet on the NBAWith the NBA regular season closing out in a few days and the playoffs opening in just over a week, now is a good time to reflect on this past year in basketball.

The 2010-2011 NBA has been one of the most exciting in recent memory, maybe the most exciting since the late 1990s.

And much of the reason for that is the resurgence of basketball in the city of Chicago, which has failed to achieve any level of elite success in the regular season and has routinely been eliminated from the first round of the playoffs if they made it even that far. After the Michael Jordan dynasty era in the early, mid and late 1990s, the team was dismantled and had a lot of rebuilding to do.

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But this year, the Bulls have come roaring back with a 58-20 record and the probably league MVP in Derrick Rose. This Bulls team has made Chicago basketball relevant again, and in such a way that there are actual anticipations of the team making it to the NBA Finals. After all, what else is to be expected from a team that is on top of the Eastern Conference?

Last night's game against the Boston Celtics cemented that view of the Bulls, as Derrick Rose led the team to a 97-81 win at the United Center. The Celtics and Miami Heat now have a few games left to fight over second and third place in the East, with each team at 54-24. Neither team has any real chance of catching up to the Bulls this late in the regular season.

A lot of the excitement of this season also has to do with the reflected glory of the past Chicago Bulls success. Having one of the best teams in the league coming out of Chicago with one of the best players in the league has to bring back memories of the last – and only – time the Bulls played at that level before.

With the Lakers star fading as Kobe Bryant ages and Phil Jackson declares this to be his last year coaching, now is the right time for Chicago to take back the top billing in the NBA. And how much fun would it be to watch a Lakers-Bulls NBA Finals series in 2011? Now that would bring back some memories and drive a whole new level of excitement in the league.


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